Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Juan of the Dead (2011)

I'm not exactly sure why but it would appear the universe concocted a curious plan to ensure I saw Juan of the Dead - now, as in right now.

It started off as a tip, a reminder actually, from someone who has been to Cuba. She said "... you have to see this movie! And review it!" Title was jotted down and I made mental note to see it as soon as possible.

Then President Obama went on his historic visit to Cuba last week. I watched the news knowing that I was watching history in the making. Then I reminded myself, "Oh that's right, must watch Juan of the Dead."

That same week I was informed that yet more people I know had booked tickets to Cuba!

As I was walking to the library to drop off some items, thinking to myself, "My goodness, what is going on with all this Cuba business up in my grill lately..." and then I saw it. Sitting in the DVD section: Juan of the Dead.

Is this a sign?!?!?! I took it as one and promptly plucked this movie that Scream Magazine nailed by calling: "George Romero meets George Carlin" off the shelf.

Folks, this brilliant political gore fest is nothing short of fascinating, hilarious, sharp, and poignant. I LOVED IT.

Fascinating because I'm almost completely oblivious to the Cuban culture, Havana living, and life in Cuba in general. Although Cuban visitors had told me about the country, it was quite a new thing to see it through more than just the mind's eye. And it would appear that the directors and producers made it clear they wanted this city (Havana) to be seen through more than just a tourist's eyes.

Hilarious because this story had absolutely no qualms whatsoever to point out political absurdities and the ways in which Cuba (and the U.S.) has been shaped as a result of many years of turmoil. Here is where the George Carlin version of funny comes in - that or a moving article version of The Onion.

Sharp because Juan of the Dead is not necessarily a slap-stick horror film. This is a stabby film - and not just gore-related. The script is striking and ensures viewers stay on the edge of their seat, all while knowing there is a strong message being relayed. The characters are dynamic, original, and completely engaging. Here's where the George Romero horror comes in.

Poignant for all the reasons I've already given. You'll walk away from this film completely satisfied in the horror watching experience, and YET! Yet, you will likely also walk away with some new perspectives on many different topics.

I highly recommend this film! I am very appreciative of the recommendation to see it :)

If you are a fan of zombies, satire, blood, guts, and well played crude jokes, then this movie is a must see for you. If you are not a fan of these things then, well, I'm sorry for you.

Recommended pairing: watch in a dismal but comfortable setting. Pairs with rum and vibrant food. Watch with a small group of friends where ever possible.

I rented this film from my local library. Or use the links under Find It. Watch It. on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can find this bloody, witty, look into a type of zombie world.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell (2014)

If you ever wanted to know what would *probably* result after binge eating Cadbury Eggs in Mr. Wing's shop with a Mogwai cheering you on for 48 consecutive hours - then look no further than the creation of Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell.

This absurd and very witty gore fest is everything you want in comedic horror, and then some.

Unlike many campy low-budget (and expectation) horror films, Beaster Day stands heads, ears, and tails above the rest for its jokes, puns, and punchlines. The producers of this film knew exactly what they were doing when they made this film/found this rabbit puppet in Mr. Wing's basement shop. And they ran with it - naked and screaming through the middle of a football game, rejoicing in all its glory.

Jam-packed with terrible special effects, insanely absurd characters, slap-stick(ish) laugh out loud hilarity, and a rabbit puppet from your nightmares that only wants to eat your face off, this movie is absolutely something that needs to be seen to be believed.

And that's about it, what else can you add to a review about a movie titled Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell? I enjoyed this movie immensely, more so than more popular horror films of it's kind. In fact, here, check out this trailer:

Yeah, that's right. You're welcome, man.

Watch in a group. Bring plenty of beer. Pairs with veggies, cream pies, and greasy greasy greasy pizza.

I saw this film for free through Amazon Prime. Or use the links under Find It. Watch It. on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can find beautiful, beautiful monstrosity.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The VVitch (2015)

When I first heard about this film, roughly six months ago, I was immediately impressed by the story but really wasn't digging on the title. Couldn't they have come up with a better title? Just "The Witch", really? Overly simple titles bug me for some reason - unless that simple title serves a purpose and properly represents the story...

After finally seeing this film last week I now totally understand why this emotionally graphic, intense, and complex movie is simply titled: The VVitch.

Despite my initial dissatisfaction of the title - I approached this movie, my Husband and brother in tow, with an open mind and a small chuckle to myself. Several days earlier I had found an article where Satanists were publicly voicing their approval of this film. I posted this rather interesting article on Twitter and was quickly notified that Horror Habit Blog was added to someone's Twitter list titled: "People Who Talk About Satan". Oh, Twitter.

This movie is a stark film that will leave you cold and afraid. Straight up. The incredibly detailed set and costumes will promptly pull you into the nightmare that was 1600's Colonial America (witches or not). I'm not sure what part of our culture has instilled a fear of early colonial costumes in me, but whenever I see these outfits I'm already terrified.

This movie is a fantastic study on the era and the people who made it worse. In a time when fear, starvation, religious fanaticism, isolation, and daily brutality in every form was the expectation, its no wonder that people thought witches were out to get them at every turn. 

Through the duration of the film I kept thinking back to my visit to Salem, Massachusetts a few years ago. My memories were primarily focused on the Jonathan Corwin House (aka The Witch House). Corwin was the primary judge presiding over the unfortunate Salem Witch Trials. This very very very spooky home demonstrated to shuddering degrees, to me, the daily horrors of simply living (and living as a women, no less) in the time. The kitchen scared me most. It didn't look like a kitchen, it looked like a torture chamber. I never wanted to hug a grocery store, refrigerator, or food processor more - in all my life. 

The VVitch shows these frightening daily toils exceptionally well. Oh, and to make matters more terrifying, there's a witch and a demon goat. If the failing crops weren't enough...

Although minimal in blood and gore, there are images here that will stick with you for the rest of your life (and will likely end up in your nightmares). The dialog is also minimal but at times I could have used some subtitles. That's okay though, I didn't need to understand every word to know that things were going to erupt in chaos at any moment. 

Folks, I need to share something. It's announced at the very end of the film, but I feel all should know even before watching the movie: nearly all the dialog is taken directly from court transcripts, letters, and diaries of the time, making the movie a triumph in horror and an absolute failing grade in humanitarianism. Humans are just the worst sometimes. 

In all: This is a great horror show. I have chills now just remembering it. 

Watch with historians, philosophers, folk lore enthusiasts, and if you really want to spice things up a bit, Satanists. Pairs with scraps of food, moldy bread, or perhaps a small bowl of unidentifiable soup. Dark beer. Dark dark dark beer. 

I saw this movie in the theater. You should see this movie in the theater. If you happen to miss it in theaters then please be sure to watch it at home, on a cold, dark night alone.